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In our parenting group, this morning, we explored how each of us have certain issues which trigger our anxiety. When this happens, we perceive our child’s behavior as the cause of this anxiety and have a need to control the behavior to relieve the panic inside.

Even though this may work, for the moment, the price we pay is huge. We blame our children, needing them to shift instead of looking inside to manage our anxiety.

If we have an issue around cleanliness and our child is messy, this can cause anxiety. Instead of working with our internal state, we think getting our child to clean up will stop the anxiety. Instead of connecting with our child and guiding them we use our relationship to control them. They don’t learn intrinsic motivation to clean, they learn to do it so they won’t get in trouble. Yuk!

Practice: Notice when you are feeling anxious in regard to a triggering behavior. See if you can name what is going on inside instead of trying to stop the behavior. Naming it is an authentic response instead of a controlling one.